GO FISHING is a daily look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Rick Grassett.
Trout season reopens today in the south region (south of Fred Howard Park near the Pasco-Pinellas county line) after a two-month closure. Anglers can keep four spotted sea trout per day between 15 and 20 inches, except one of the four can be more than 20.
Trout more than 20 inches usually are female, which is why their take is limited. I haven't kept a trout on my boat in Sarasota Bay since the extended red tide of 2005. However, their numbers seem to have rebounded well this year, so trout fishing should be good this season.
Sarasota Bay and the coastal Gulf off Sarasota have been fishing very well for a variety of species. Anglers fishing with me on the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had good action with trout, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, reds and pompano on jigs and flies. Most fish were caught on deep grass flats from the Middleground flat to Buttonwood Harbor, along the west side of Sarasota Bay. We also scored on reds to 30 inches with jigs and flies along sand bars and in potholes on both sides of Sarasota Bay.
Anglers fishing Gasparilla Sound in Charlotte Harbor with me on a recent trip caught trout, bluefish and redfish on jigs. Many trout were in the slot, so this area should also fish well for trout. We found fish concentrated in potholes at the bottom of the tide.
Captain Dan Kiefer, also out of CB's Saltwater Outfitters, reported excellent action with large Spanish mackerel on jigs and spoons in the coastal Gulf off Lido Key while working breaking fish and bait pods. The Silvertooth Reef off Lido Key also has been producing Spanish mackerel. Another CB's Saltwater Outfitter's guide, captain Jim Klopfer, reported jack crevalle to 5 pounds, sheepshead and pompano in the slow speed zone north of Stickney Point on live shrimp and jigs.
Fishing will probably be tough for a couple of days following today's strong cold front. It may be better to fish in the afternoon because of colder water in the morning.